Navigating Pandemic-Induced Grief

Moving Forward and Transforming the Pain

“Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.” – C. S. Lewis

In March of 2020 our relatively stable lives and economy were uprooted. The news became a constant stream of COVID-19 questions and concerns. With no solution or cure to be found we all went into lockdown. Little did we know at the time that it would take roughly two years before we were tip-toeing back into society. Collectively we experienced an incredible amount of trauma and it feels like no one is talking about it.

With limited opportunities for us to get out and experience our family, friends, and work life we had to face this new reality alone. We sat home alone in our grief as we realized things would never be the same again. The loss and pain that comes from a dramatic change in our day-to-day life can be overwhelming. 

Now that we are out living our lives once again it is time to start processing the huge emotional shift the last two years have caused. 

Lockdown

You remember the early days of the pandemic. Everyone was shocked but also enjoying some downtime at home. We were all baking bread and re-organizing our rooms and giving lots of unwanted items to Goodwill. But then, what we thought was going to be 3 weeks dragged on for another 2 years. We began hopping on Zoom calls with our friends and drinking wine in the middle of the day, and we started to realize how precious our fragile economy was.

People started to break up and our mental health plummeted. We were not okay. And as a result, we were realizing that we haven’t been happy in our lives or at our jobs, and we started grieving, at home, by ourselves, in a very unhealthy way. 

We were home, but we realized we had been burnt out, and we were used to living with a lack of focus and endless fatigue. 

We hadn’t had time to stop and breathe and because of that, we didn’t know how to stop and breathe.

Suddenly we were less engaged with friends and family online. We became tired of Zoom, and the Great Resignation began. 

As we headed into year 2, with no end date in sight, we became more divided as a nation. Polarized by politics and caught between doing what is right and taking care of our mental health. 

Two years isn’t long in the grand scheme of things, but it shifts how we communicate, do business, and how comfortable we are in a large room of people. 

The world opens up

Slowly we emerge on the other side. COVID still moves silently among us. It is more contagious but less deadly and it’s time to get our lives back on track. 

Now the fear of socializing begins. Now we must relearn how to leave the house. How to show up for events, and how to be responsible for ourselves and each other as we do so. 

For many, this has been equally as challenging. Many are questioning what this post-pandemic life will be like. Many are feeling anxious about the future and question whether or not we will need to shelter in place once more. 

There is a void, and we are all seeking new common ground in a world that has been utterly shaken. 

Working Through Pandemic-Induced Grief

Most of us shy away from feelings of grief. We understand the overwhelming effect grief has on the body and would prefer not to feel that pain. This is one of the reasons it’s so hard to connect with someone who just lost a loved one in death. We understand their suffering and we don’t want to acknowledge that hurt and unhealed wound inside of us, so we stay nothing, or we stay away. 

This makes grief one of the most challenging emotions to breathe through. Although we collectively understand that grief is inevitable, it is also one of the hardest to face. 

Grief is a form of love. Love that has been lost in some fashion. When we turn our thoughts toward love, transformation can begin and we heal and grow. It is when we decide to stuff it in and not deal with the hard emotions of grief that trouble arises. Overworking, substance abuse and isolation are common masking tools that might numb the pain but result in illness, depression, or more grief.

Collective Healing

It is time to come together and heal from this pandemic. I am thrilled to be joining forces with Pastor Kacey Hanh from St. Matthews Church in the Renton Highlands to bring you Breathing Through Grief: A three-part series dedicated to helping our community heal.

The first of the three is Oct. 2 and we will focus on this very topic. We will come together and breathe through the hard and uncomfortable. We will support each other through the grief and come out stronger together on the other side. 

This 90-minute workshop is open to all regardless of gender, race, sexual preference, or religious affiliations. Grief is a common thread and together we will always be stronger. 

This is a time to listen, share, breathe, and explore. Grief is love that we don’t move on from, but that we are open to moving forward with new eyes and appreciation. 

Learn more about all 3 workshops and register by clicking the link here.